Tuesday, February 22, 2011

You know, I was present for a radical shift in thought and perspective. I don't remember exactly where I was but I remember the awe of realizing, OH< I can't take pills. I can't take just one pill, it is impossible for me to take "a few" from a new script and have any left by morning". This new understanding took place while I was in the company of 2 people who were just like me. It was so fantastic to identify with them on such a level of breathing , living comprehension. There was something that looked like a pill under the table in the group room at the hospital and I looked at it and mentioned to my friend Wanda, "You know that looks like a pill underneath the edge of that table. She turned to me and said "It's a piece of paper and I thought the same thing til I finally got up and looked." We understood each other in that moment and it was funny and warm and I knew for the first time, I wasn't alone. I'm an addict , my first response may always be, "cool, a pill" but with a sponsor, some days clean, 12 steps and the amazing freedom to find a power greater than myself, my action regarding that pill is to "pass it by." I'm not confounded or befuddled regarding my addiction. I found A WAY OUT I'm not on the outside looking in to my own life, as a narrator in a movie or play. My favorite sentence in all the literature is "We could no longer live as humans, with or without drugs. When I heard that sentence from the reading "We do Recover" I was changed from a patient attending a mandatory NA meeting to a full fledged willing member of Narcotics Anonymous.
"The ultimate weapon for recovery is the recovering addict. " I keep thinking about that sentence. It doesn't say it is a viable weapon, or a nice weapon or even a strong weapon. The authors of this book said the recovering addict is my ULTIMATE WEAPON. So, I totally have to get over my fear of people and start bringing more recovering addicts into my recovery. I'm actually better with newcomers mainly because people in recovery have started to have lives again and i always feel like i am keeping them from something. Newcomers have more tt BUT, I am better than I was at it and willing to push through the fear and the stupid obsession with myself. lol If I want clean time with peace in it, I will get over it. It's what the book states.

There aren't many places in the book that are that direct and pointed where they crown a weapon or tool of recovery as "THE ULTIMATE". It gets my attention every time.
"We constantly let go of what has served its purpose, and let our Higher Power guide us through the current phase with what works here and now." BT10

My garage is a great example of not letting go of things that serve me no more. Right now, there is an old computer monitor, an old vacuum, 2 old air filters and an mini fridge that line one wall. None of it can or will be fixed, it take up useful space and frankly that collection of broken crap is an eye sore and a metaphor for my family's life. Afraid of letting go because we might need this broken shit.
The Narcotics Anonymous Ecosystem, It's all good and anyone is welcome. lol
by Clinton Rolen Gandy on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 7:37am

I caught a nature program on TV and I was struck by the similarities of all these different ecosystems in nature and how they rely on all of the individual parts to perform the task they were born or created to carry out in order for the whole system to survive, and how Narcotics Anonymous was just like the system they spoke about in the rain forest and the wet lands.

The definition of an Ecosystem is....The interacting system of a biological community and its nonliving environment.

I depend on others to do what they know how to do, and I add my skills to the group and together we are a part of a living breathing system that sustains life and offers safety and sanctuary for newcomers until they get well enough to identify and add what they bring to the system. It's ever evolving and at no point can it stop allowing new members because they bring us the energy to exist as a whole. What better way for a power greater than ourselves to assure that we don't become exclusive than by making the ecosystem depend on the influx of new life to help grow and sustain the existing forms already present and we don't consume them we fortify them.

This system relies completely on love, compassion, service, patience , tolerance and forgiveness to feed us all and to keep us fortified for each other and the newcomer.

Something that the program has given me, or allowed me to do as long as I practice it, is to see myself as part of life, living, nature, humanity and the spirit world. I have felt apart from, less than and not good enough all the way back to the first day I came to consciousness. Being apart of the ecosystem of NA gives me both purpose and hope which are the very two things I nearly died from not having.

In the hall, in the love of the fellowship I am safe, loved and needed. I ask you this, how did I get so lucky and when did I win this compassion lottery of spirit. It can exist and thrive without me but I for sure add to its flavor. Without it I don't stand much of a chance other than "Jails, institutions and if I was lucky, death.

Color me grateful!
When I hear people say "I'm a chronic relapser" I just cringe because it's so hard to use the terminology without having some level of shame attached to it. It's like the scarlet letter inside the hall that some people feel they have to bear in order to make their shame level validated. I relapsed a lot when I was in the other program and I couldn't let myself off the hook for being sick. Anyway, I decided the other day mid-sharing that I had a new term to replace the shaming one. My new term is "a Recovery Intrepid". Hell, I got to the other program really really early and I made a lot of solid attempts but I just hadn't done enough research to stay. I'm very proud to be an intrepid because for me to keep coming back after I failed in front of you, is the least likely thing you would ever see me do but I did, i have a lot. Therefore, I am intrepid.
My two cents and then some. If I find myself obsessing on what someone else is doing "wrong" then the issue is clearly mine and not theirs. We all vary in degrees of sickness and recovery rates. Every single addict is ILL and on any given day at any given moment all of us are only as "well" as we can be. Your recovery is none of my business unless it affects the recovery group as a whole, even then I don't need to go in the the lone ranger and right all the wrongs. Our strength is in our singleness of purpose. If you are compelled to take others inventory, don't share it with other people when you finish. Am I sowing the seeds of hope and recovery or am I just trying to build my non exist sense of self up by tearing someone else down. Trashing someone's program is the easiest thing in the world to do, it takes no skill or or talent and any newcomer who has memorized a single sentence from the literature can do it.
In the end, what I think of myself and the strength of my program and surrender is the only thing that matters. The fabulous thing about trouble makers and instigators is though don't stay around long. They either get better by working with a sponsor, working the steps and becoming a whole human thanks to the unconditional love of the program or they disappear.
The funny thing about all the of slings and arrows is , it's like shooting fish in a bathtub. Of course we have shortcomings and issue, look where we are. Pointing the obvious out does not show how clever you are, rather it shows how unoriginal taking another's inventory is.
I can save us both time and email my list of shortcomings and defects of character to anyone hell bent on making my shot at recovery the most difficult.

I will promise you all this, it is a truth written into every religion on the planet only worded differently. The jail you plan for me, IS THE ONE you will rot it. The seeds you sow, so shall you reap. Karma is real, and sometimes in is REAL Fast.

Get it together people. UNITY UNITY UNITY.

"Come on People now, smile on your brother
Everybody get together
it's time to love one another
right now
right now
right now"

Peace on earth begins with me. Be the change you want to see in the world.
You know that warm rush of compassion and love you get when you watch a baby learning to walk and it falls and gets up. Do you know the swelling of connectedness I feel when I look into the soulful eyes of the dog I adopted. When you see an expression on an athletes face on tv who has just done what he had always dream of doing, the feeling of identification, love, compassion , empathy and recognition and you are moved deeply?

Yesterday I got in the car and the rear view mirror was adjusted to the wrong angle. The only the that appeared in it was car interior and my right eye. I started to reach to adjust it when something caught my attention. I realized it looked like I had my first real line forming underneath my eye. As I looked at it I was swept with the feelings of pride and compassion. Gratitude came out of no where I knew I earned that line. It was a better than a Scout Badge for selling cookies because the birth of this crease in my face was earned by managing to fucking survive when my contemporaries had all mostly perished before they became willing to change. I had nothing but deep deep love, respect and compassion for the person behind that brown eyeball and for a moment I fully realized that not only loving and forgiving my self was possible, it had begun. That is very exciting to this addict who is last usually to notice the change in myself.
The steps and meetings allow me to use living in the moment to actively monitor what is going on in my brain and what I am thinking/doing/feeling. The now is the only time I can actively choose to do something different,,,,it has to being happening "now" for me to have a choice in doing something different. Great post Kyle! It's something I try to have a living consciousness about. Fear can really only exist when I project into the future. The now is like the the calm of the see in the center of the storm.
Identification. Attraction rather than promotion.... The only time in my entire life I was OVERTLY hit on, turned out to be someone wanting to be sale AMWAY under their management. I heard a birthday Celebrant last night mention the only sentence in the literature he wants removed is the sentence about "We only have ONE Promise" . He went on to list many many "unconfirmed" promises that mean a lot to him. This mornings Just For Today is that very sentence he had a problem with. I guess it's really splitting hairs by even discussing what is a promise and what isn't but as I read the reflection I was made thankful that I wasn't bombarded with a list of "promises" of what my life would transform into when I came back to the 12 steps in earnest. I need things as simple as possible and I think the promise of Freedom From Active Addiction was all I could wrap my brain around. Any other "promises or non-promises are just icing on a really really tasty cake".
I"M really really thankful I didn't get met with the "Amway" "Up with the People" sales pitch when I came home to NA.
Just for Today One Promise, Many Gifts

" Narcotics Anonymous offers only one promise, and that is freedom from active addiction..."
Basic Text, p. 102

Imagine how it might be if we had arrived at the doors of Narcotics Anonymous, desperate, wanting to stop using drugs, only to be met by a sales pitch: "If you just work the steps and don't use drugs, you'll get married, live in the suburbs, have 2.6 children, and start wearing polyester. You will become a responsible, productive member of society and be fit company for kings and presidents. You will be rich and have a dynamic career." Most of us, greeted with such a heavy-handed spiel, would have shrieked and bolted for the door.
Instead of high-pressure nonsense and frightening predictions, we are greeted with a promise of hope: freedom from active addiction. We feel a blessed relief come over us when we hear that we never have to use drugs again. We aren't going to be forced to become anything!
Of course, after some time in recovery, good things start happening in our lives. We are given gifts-spiritual gifts, material gifts, gifts that we've always dreamed of but never dared hope we'd get. These, however, are truly gifts-they are not promised to us just because we become NA members. All we are promised is freedom from addiction-and it's more than enough!

Just for today: I have been promised freedom from active addiction. The gifts I receive are the benefits of recovery
I just saw a photograph on the net and it was pretty gruesome, but it made me see once again, that I have so far, always been protected by an invisible velvet rope that kept me back from going as low as I was willing to go. I kept lowering the bar of what was acceptable by me. I absolutely was willing to to to the final dark place and hopefully never return. I was held up by whatever force there is in the universe from the bottom I was headed for, secretly wished for. I was spared, so far. I'm well aware that the dark end I stalked, is just a pill, a drink or a hit away.

When I landed on the photo with a person displayed in the LEAST sexiest way, I remembered how I wanted someone or something to validate that I was worthless. When you mix addiction and non existent self esteem, you get a line forming to the left of people who will be more than happy to eviscerate your waning spirit. In the AA program they mention INCOMPREHENSIBLE DEMORALIZATION and I get that totally totally, on a cellular basis.

In NA, relief is quick but recovery is methodical, steady and above all else, "god damn Daily".

I can't be anything but grateful when I take stock or an inventory of my health and surrounds, because I certainly put it all on the line in my addiction but so far I haven't given or lost anything that I need anymore or can't replace. I am really thankful for internal organs that work and the fact I don't have to drive to a dialysis clinic several times a week to get "Cleansed".

Years ago I knew a girl in recovery at the Lambda group in Dallas. She relapsed and tried to kill herself and shot her leg off at the knee by accident. When she gets to the point in telling her story where that comes up, she remarks, "I shot my leg off trying to kill myself and I STILL ended up having to get sober, only now, I only need to put on one shoe to go to a meeting".